buying used e-bikes

How to Buy Used E-Bikes: Finding a Great Deal!

by Nathan Schaumann

If you are looking to buy a used e-bike, there are some specific tips and strategies you can use to save some money and time. In this article I will go over my experiences researching and purchasing used E-bikes over the years.

Tip #1: Use Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist

Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist are both excellent online marketplaces where people post used stuff they are trying to get rid of. There are also some state-specifics sites, like KSL for example which is in Utah only.

Make sure to set alerts and set up notifications so that you are the first to find out about a new posting! For Craigslist specifically, there is an app called Cplus that you can consider trying for your iPhone or Android. It is very customizable and can send alerts to your phone quicker than the website.

Tip #2: Haggle

Always ask for a lower price! The worst the seller can say is no. Don’t be ridiculous or throw out super low-ball offers, but it can’t hurt to see if they will knock off $50 if you offer to pick it up, or purchase it within a given time frame. Be prepared to be flexible about payment options – it’s good to get a Venmo account if you don’t already have one, or many people also prefer cash.

Tip #3: Ask About Maintenance

When buying a used e-bike from a stranger, it’s important to get a complete understanding of any repairs or modifications that have been done, such as a a new motor, brakes, tires, or suspension. Always test ride a used e-bike before buying it, and pay close attention to any strange noises coming from the motors, spongy braking, or any rattling or loose screws. If the e-bike folds, check the folding mechanism to ensure nothing is damaged.

If the e-bike has a max speed of 20 mph (for example), be sure to test that it can hit this speed, or at least near this speed. If it doesn’t even come close, there could be battery or settings issues that you will want to work out before finalizing the purchase.

Tip #4: Don’t Give Strangers Your Address

I learned this the hard way – I once invited someone from Facebook Marketplace to meet me at my house to sell a scooter, and I later found out that he had been involved in the theft of multiple scooters at nearby houses. Afterwards I installed a security camera in my shed, and decided to meet people instead at a local park near my house when buying or selling PEVs.

Tip #5: Be Open To Other Brands

If you are looking for a specific e-bike model, such as an Aventon Pace, you most likely won’t find many options. The likelihood of someone selling the specific bike you are looking for in your area is very low, and it’s even lower that it will be at a screaming-good-deal price. Do your research on similar or competing e-bike brands, and be willing to consider other used e-bikes with similar specs. Often those will be on sale for less than half the cost of your specific desired model.

Tip #6: Ask Why They Are Selling

The most common reasons I have seen that people are selling their used e-bikes:

  • Don’t ride it very often
  • Had a crash
  • Upgrading to a new e-bike
  • Need cash
  • Bought it for a friend/relative who doesn’t want it
  • Got it for free (work giveaway)

It’s important to get an idea of why they are motivated to sell. If the e-bike was involved in an accident, you’ll want to ask about and inspect any damages. If they just need cash, you can probably haggle and get an even better deal. If they are upgrading to a new e-bike, you’ll want to ask what they didn’t like about the current e-bike, and what motivated them to upgrade.

Tip #7: Be Willing To Drive

If you expand your search area from 25 miles to 100 miles (depending on where you live), this hugely increases the likelihood of finding a deal. Hopping in your car and driving for an hour or two might be worth it if you are going to save hundreds of dollars versus buying new.

Buying Used E-Bikes: Questions to Ask

  • How many miles?
  • Why are you selling it?
  • Did you buy it new? Who did you buy it from?
  • Can you email me the receipt? (This is to show that they did not steal it and for potential warranty questions should they arise.)
  • When did you buy it? (Some warranties are transferrable depending on model.)
  • Do you still have the original box and paperwork?
  • Do you have the original charger?
  • Has it ever been in water?
  • Are there any issues with it?
  • What accessories do you have to go with it? Oftentimes sellers will throw in accessories that they have purchased.
  • Are you willing to lower the price?
  • What kind of payment will you take? (ie Venmo, PayPal, Apple Pay, Check, Cash)

Buying Used E-Bikes: Inspection Checklist

Here is a PDF copy for you to print and bring along to the inspection: Used E-Bike Inspection Checklist PDF

Bring your helmet for a test ride. Be sure to inspect the following:

  • Evaluate overall condition (Does this look as advertised?)
  • Do the scratches, nicks, and dents match the mileage?
  • Look for cracks or signs of water damage
  • Check for missing or loose screws (Signs of careless modifications which could potentially void a warranty.)
  • Check the charge port and all buttons for signs of damage
  • Check if the tires hold pressure
  • Test all buttons, including lights, turning signals, horn
  • Test acceleration and stopping
  • Test in several different speed modes
  • Confirm the seller has the original charger (Not having the original charger is a big red flag. Stolen e-bikes will often not come with an original charger.) Check that the charger plugs in.

Here are some additional helpful tips from Reddit users:
What should I watch out for when buying a used e-bike?
Help with buying a used e-bike!

buying used e-bikes

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